Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Dos and Don'ts of having a Garage Sale

My Mom and I love to garage sale. It is so much fun to find new purpose in items that is someone else’s cast-offs. It’s even better to spend barely any money while doing this. Each time we go garage saleing (is that a word?), though, we see people that drive us batty with how they run their sales. Many times the signs are confusing, too little, or too light, or on the wrong side of the street and we don’t even make it to the sale. Other times people are rude or indifferent about being a host to you. So over the years we have put together a little list of do’s and don’ts. I’m sure I’m missing a few things here, so be sure to comment to add your tips and tricks on how to throw a great garage sale.

1. Keep a large box or two in your garage so that you can add things to it throughout the year so when it's time for a garage sale, you won't have to do a huge house cleaning.

2. Be sure to have some kind of sparkle or glass in your garage sale. Believe it or not, it is the #1 thing that draws people in.

3. Make sure to have enough tables and chairs for you and your helpers to sit in.

4. Place small items and clothing on tables or hang up. Many people will not even bother looking or going through items that are on the ground. Large items like framed art, lawn equipment, furniture, floor lamps, etc, can be left on the ground.

5. If you have a lot of books to sell, set them up on a bookcase.

6. Have someone present to run the sale at all times.

7. Be sure to say hi or good morning whenever someone comes up to your sale.

8. Have water bottles for sale (do not price gouge), especially during the spring and summer months.

9. Set a time for the Garage Sale and stick to it. You don’t have to be there all day.

10. Set out your signs after you have your items set up.

11. Make clear signs with the word SALE on it and arrows that are BIG and BOLD. It’s not necessary to put any details other than that. People are traveling in a car, they can’t read all the details of what you are selling, all they need is to know there is a sale and where it is.

12. Have some change especially for the early risers that went to the atm first thing in the morning and will only have 20 dollar bills to give you for that 75 cent candle they bought.

13. Clean off your items before you put them out to sell.

14. Keep your stuff as neat and organized as you can during the day so that things are easy to see. Would you want to go through a big pile of miscellaneous baby clothes, or a table of them that are stacked neatly with the matching outfits?

15. Take your signs down when your sale is done.

1. Expect your garage sale to be a major money making experience. The purpose is to get rid of stuff you don’t want and to benefit someone else; it’s recycling at its finest. If your expectations are to make a lot of money or to get a fair price on your old catch, you will be grossly disappointed.

2. Take ANYTHING back inside your home. After your sale is over, take it to Goodwill.

3. Mark anything with prices. Yes, really. It’s not necessary. People will try to talk you down anyway. Also, if they are really interested in something, they will ask about it, and then you have an in to their sale. If they see a price that is not what they want to pay, they may just skip it.

4. Expect ‘good money’ for your items. Come on, it’s a garage sale. If you want to make a lot of money, put your stuff on Craig’s List or EBay. I don’t care how much you paid for it originally or if you think it’s still in good condition, it’s not. Think about what you would want to pay.

5. Put your signs out across the street from where people should turn. Put your signs with accurate arrows on the streets that people should be turning onto.

6. Hold your garage sale for three days. Really, Saturday morning is good enough.

7. Sell stained underwear, used toothbrushes, toilet brushes, used makeup, or open bottles. Yes, I have seen all of these things at garage sales I’ve been to.

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